11 September 2008

Students' Movie Lists: Favorites vs. Greatest


Last night in my film class, I asked my students to make two different film lists: one list was of their favorite movies, and the other was of the "greatest movies ever made." This entry is a compilation of their lists. A point of clarification: I didn't warn the students about this little in-class assignment, so they didn't prepare lists in advance. They had about 10 minutes to make their lists, and then we shared them as a class. I know if someone asked me to do this in 10 minutes, I'd forget a bunch of my favorites and a bunch of movies I consider "great." That said, here's the list. Numbers in parentheses indicate how many students listed that same film, if it was listed by more than one student. (23 students submitted lists, and there was no limit on the number of movies each student could list. I told students that they need not have seen a movie to put it on their "Greatest" list.)

And the envelope please...

Students' Favorite Movies

  • Dark Knight, The (11)
  • 300 (7)
  • Lord of the Rings (7) *no student specified a particular title in the trilogy
  • Transformers (7)
  • Boondock Saints (6)
  • Departed, The (5)
  • Fight Club (5)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (5) *some students only wrote "Monty Python" and I assumed...
  • Star Wars series (5) *a couple students were more specific, the universal preference being for 4-6 in the series (the original trilogy)
  • Amelie (4)
  • Breakfast Club, The (4)
  • Good Will Hunting (4)
  • Goonies (4)
  • Juno (4)
  • Jurassic Park (4) *I assumed that students referred to the original film in the series
  • Pride and Prejudice (4) *only one students specified that she referred to the 2005 and I daringly assumed that that's what they all meant
  • 10 Things I Hate about You (3)
  • Bourne series (3) *no student specifically mentioned any but the original film in the trilogy
  • Chronicles of Narnia series (American), The (3)
  • Die Hard series (3) *only one student specified the 4th movie in the series, so I lumped all Die Hard titles together, even while assuming that the other 2 students were referring to the original film
  • Dumb and Dumber (3)
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (3)
  • Heavy Weights (3)
  • Holiday, The (3)
  • Indiana Jones series (3) *one student specified "The Last Crusade," and others wrote "Raiders of the Lost Ark"; many just wrote "Indiana Jones" so I lumped all Indiana Jones picks into one
  • Knight’s Tale, A (3)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (3) *no student elaborated, so I assumed they meant the first in the series
  • Remember the Titans (3)
  • Shawshank Redemption, The (3)
  • Sin City (3)
  • Snatch (3)
  • Spider-Man 1 (3) *students were pretty specific about which Spiderman film (of the Raimi series) they preferred, with none specifying III
  • Sweeney Todd (3)
  • There Will Be Blood (3)
  • Batman Begins (2)
  • Blood Diamond (2)
  • Darjeeling Limited, The (2)
  • Dirty Dancing (2)
  • Fargo (2)
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (2)
  • Finding Neverland (2)
  • Garden State (2)
  • Gladiator (2)
  • Green Mile, The (2)
  • Harry Potter series (2)
  • I, Robot (2)
  • Iron Man (2)
  • Kingdom of Heaven (2)
  • Knocked Up (2)
  • Lion King, The (2)
  • Little Mermaid, The (2)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2)
  • Magnolia (2)
  • Matrix series (2) *some students specifically wrote "trilogy," while others didn't--I lumped them all together here
  • Mean Girls (2)
  • Mighty Ducks series (2) *to be fair, one student wrote "The Mighty Ducks" and another specified a number of titles in the series--not being a Mighty Ducks connoisseur, I simplified
  • Mission: Impossible (2) *I assume students referred to the first in the Tom Cruise-starring series
  • Never Back Down (2)
  • Once (2)
  • Phone Booth (2)
  • Pineapple Express (2)
  • Psycho (2)
  • Rent (2)
  • Royal Tenenbaums, The (2)
  • Science of Sleep, The (2)
  • Se7en (2)
  • Shooter (2)
  • Sixth Sense, The (2)
  • Spider-Man 2 (2)
  • Superbad (2)
  • Swingers (2)
  • Team America: World Police (2)
  • Thank You for Smoking (2)
  • Village, The (2)
  • Zodiac (2)
  • 10,000 BC
  • 101 Dalmations (Disney)
  • 13 Going on 30
  • 21
  • 27 Dresses
  • 28 Days Later
  • 50 First Dates
  • 8 ½
  • A River Runs through It
  • Absent-Minded Professor, The
  • Adventures of Robin Hood, The *student specified the 1938 version
  • Air Force One
  • Ali
  • Amadeus
  • American Beauty
  • Amityville Horror, The (remake)
  • Anchorman
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Annie Hall
  • Apollo 13
  • Armageddon
  • Army of Darkness
  • Asterix & Obelix vs. Caesar
  • Babel
  • Being John Malkovich
  • Benji: The Hunted
  • Big Fish
  • Big Green
  • Billy Bathgate
  • Billy Madison
  • Blackhawk Down
  • Blades of Glory
  • Blues Brothers, The *version unspecified
  • Braveheart
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Bruce Almighty
  • Bullitt
  • Butterfly Effect, The
  • Casablanca
  • Casino Royale *student specified the 2006 version
  • Casanova
  • Castle in the Sky
  • Cellular
  • Charlie & the Chocolate Factory *not really sure which version was intended--on their "greatest lists" (see below) some students wrote "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" but then specified "the original," which I interpreted to mean Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971); there was no clarification offered on this list
  • Children of Men
  • Chronicles of Narnia (British ones), The
  • Chronicles of Riddick
  • Clerks 2
  • Cloverfield
  • Coffee and Cigarettes
  • Con Air
  • Cool Hand Luke
  • Crash *safe to assume the 2004 film here
  • Crazy/Beautiful
  • Dan in Real Life
  • Dirty Harry
  • Disney movies (any) *not sure if this student would really include all Disney films equally, but I had no opportunity to ask
  • Donnie Darko
  • East of Eden
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Elf
  • Empire Records
  • Enter the Dragon
  • Evil Dead 2
  • Factory Girl
  • Family Stone
  • Father of the Bride *no version specified, but given the students' predilection for recent, color movies, I'd guess the 1991 remake
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
  • Finding Nemo
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • Fountain, The
  • Four Brothers
  • Fracture
  • Freaky Friday (remake) *student specified "remake" but not which one--again, my guess would be the most recent one, which was 2003
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Friends with Money
  • GI Jane
  • Girl Interrupted
  • Godfather I, The
  • Godfather II, The
  • Gold Finger
  • Golden Compass, The
  • Gone Baby Gone
  • Good Shepherd, The
  • Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The
  • Goodfellas
  • Great Panda Adventure, The
  • Halloween
  • Happy Feet
  • Hard Candy
  • Hello Dolly
  • Hot Fuzz
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • I Am Legend
  • I am Sam
  • I’m a Cyborg but it’s Okay
  • In & Out
  • In the Line of Fire
  • Incredibles, The
  • Indian in the Cupboard
  • Inside Man
  • Into the Wild
  • Italian Job, The *no version specified--in keeping with my hasty generalization, I'd guess the 2003 remake
  • Jacket, The
  • Jane Austen Book Club
  • Jaws
  • Jungle Book, The *in this case, I'll make an exception and assume that the student's referring to the 1967 animated classic
  • Jurassic Park 2
  • Kid in King Arthur’s Court, A
  • Kill Bill, vols. 1 & 2
  • Kingdom, The
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  • La Femme Nikita *student specified the original, French version (because I actually remembered to ask)
  • Lars and the Real Girl
  • Last Man Standing *no version specified--I'd guess the 1996 Bruce Willis film, but I'm not at all sure
  • Layer Cake
  • Leon: The Professional
  • Liar Liar
  • Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The
  • Life is Beautiful
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
  • Long, Hot Summer, The
  • Lost in Translation
  • Magical Mystery Tour
  • Mall Rats
  • Marie Antoinette
  • Mary Poppins
  • Mask, The
  • Meet Joe Black
  • Minority Report
  • Mission, The
  • Mona Lisa Smile
  • Monster’s Ball
  • Mostly Martha
  • Motorcycle Diaries, The
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Mr. Brooks
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Mrs. Doubtfire
  • MST3K: Giant Spider Invasion
  • Napoleon Dynamite
  • National Treasure
  • Never Been Kissed
  • Never-Ending Story, The
  • New Guy, The
  • Newsies
  • Nightmare before Christmas
  • Ninja Scroll
  • No Country for Old Men
  • Notebook, The
  • Notes on a Scandal
  • On the Waterfront
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico
  • Orange County
  • Others, The
  • Painted Veil, The
  • Paris, Je T’aime
  • Perfect Storm, The
  • Predator
  • Prince of Egypt
  • Princess Bride
  • Producers, The
  • Punch-Drunk Love
  • Quigley Down Under
  • Rebel without a Cause
  • Red Dawn
  • Requiem for a Dream
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Return of the Jedi
  • Romeo + Juliet *no version specified, so I guessed the 1996 version, even though the student wrote the title with an "and" rather than a "+"
  • Rounders
  • Rushmore
  • Sabrina *a tough call, but I'd still go with my "remake preference" theory and suppose the student's referring to the 1995 remake)
  • Sandlot, The
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Secret Window
  • Sense and Sensibility *my guess? the 1995 film version, although I've know some students who were absolutely Jane Austen enthusiasts who had favorite British or American TV versions
  • Seven Samurai, The
  • Shawn of the Dead
  • Shop Girl
  • Signs
  • Silent Hill
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • SLC Punk
  • Spaceballs
  • Spirited Away
  • Squid: The Whale
  • Stealing Harvard
  • Step Brothers
  • Stranger than Fiction
  • Sunshine
  • Tarzan
  • Ten Commandments, The
  • That Thing You Do
  • They Call Me Trinity
  • Thin Red Line, The
  • Thirteen
  • Titanic
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Tombstone
  • Transporter, The
  • Treasure of Planet *not sure about this one
  • Trinity is Still My Name
  • Triplets of Belleville, The
  • Undercover Brother
  • V for Vendetta
  • Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
  • Van Wilder
  • Vantage Point
  • Virgin Suicides, The
  • Waitress, The
  • Wanted
  • War of the Worlds
  • Wedding Crashers
  • Wet Hot American Summer
  • What about Bob?
  • White Christmas
  • Wristcutters: A Love Story
  • X-Men 1
  • X-Men 2
  • Zoolander
  • Zulu


Greatest Movies Ever Made


  • Godfather, The (11)
  • Casablanca (9)
  • Star Wars (9) *again, most students simply wrote "Star Wars," though at least one specified episodes 4-6
  • Dark Knight, The (7)
  • Gone with the Wind (7)
  • Lord of the Rings (7) *no student specified a single title in the trilogy
  • Psycho (6)
  • Sound of Music, The (6)
  • Gladiator (5)
  • Titanic (5)
  • Boondock Saints (4)
  • Citizen Kane (4)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (4)
  • Shawshank Redemption (4)
  • There Will Be Blood (4)
  • Wizard of Oz (4)
  • Braveheart (3)
  • 300 (3)
  • Ben Hur (3)
  • E.T. (3)
  • Forest Gump (3)
  • Indiana Jones series (3) *one student wrote "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but the others just wrote "Indiana Jones," so I combined them
  • Jurassic Park (3) *no student specified a specific title in the series--I assume they refer to the 1993 original
  • Lion King, The (3)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (3)
  • Schindler’s List (3)
  • Singin’ in the Rain (3)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (3)
  • Breakfast Club (2)
  • Departed, The (2)
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (2)
  • Godfather, The, Part II (2)
  • Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The (2)
  • Green Mile, The (2)
  • Hotel Rwanda (2)
  • Jaws (2)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2)
  • Matrix series (2) *no specific title listed
  • No Country for Old Men (2)
  • On the Waterfront (2)
  • Passion of the Christ, The (2)
  • Saving Private Ryan (2)
  • Shining, The (2)
  • Sin City (2)
  • Sixth Sense, The (2)
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (2) *in this case, as I mentioned above, students really did specify "the original"
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • 8 ½
  • Adventures of Robin Hood, The *again, 1938 version specified
  • Akira
  • Alien
  • Amadeus
  • Amelie
  • Anchorman
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Annie Hall
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Appleseed
  • Batman Forever
  • Beautiful Life, A
  • Big Lebowski, The
  • Billy Bathgate
  • Birth of a Nation
  • Blood Diamond
  • Bourne series
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Bullitt
  • Cast Away
  • Chariots of Fire
  • Children of Men
  • Christmas Story, A
  • Cinderella
  • Clockwork Orange, A
  • Disney (any?)
  • End of Evangelion
  • Enter the Dragon
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Fargo
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • Fight Club
  • French Connection
  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Goodfellas
  • Graduate, The
  • Grapes of Wrath
  • Indian in a Cupboard
  • James Bond movies
  • Jesse James
  • King Kong
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Les Miserables
  • Life is Beautiful
  • Magnolia
  • Mask, The
  • Mission, The
  • Napoleon Dynamite
  • New World, The
  • Notebook, The
  • Pearl Harbor
  • Perfect Storm
  • Pianist, The
  • Platoon
  • Predator
  • Punch-Drunk Love
  • Raging Bull
  • Rebel without a Cause
  • Requiem for a Dream
  • River Runs through It, A
  • Scarface
  • Se7en
  • Seven Samurai, The
  • Shop Girl
  • Snatch
  • Spider-Man *safe to assume the 2002 version
  • Stranger than Fiction
  • Sunshine
  • Ten Commandments, The
  • Terminator, The
  • Thank You for Smoking
  • Tombstone
  • Transformers
  • Unbreakable

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